United Kingdom denies claim Russian Federation fired ‘warning shots’ at British warship

The Royal Navy’s Type 45 Destroyer HMS Defender. LA Chris Mumby

The Royal Navy’s Type 45 Destroyer HMS Defender. LA Chris Mumby

He charged that the British destroyer Dragon intruded into the Russian waters near Crimea in October, and the USA destroyer John McCain violated the Russian border in the Sea of Japan in November.

"It did not react to the warning", the Russian defence ministry said, as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

The UK Ministry of Defence said no Russian warning shots were fired at the British ship and did not recognize claims that bombs were dropped in its path.

However, the UK's Ministry of Defence said no Russian warning shots were fired and it did not recognise assertions that bombs were put in the vessel's path.

The Defence Ministry has concentrated special attention to ensuring the security of Crimea, with pro-Western authorities in Kiev and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations refusing to recognise Russian jurisdiction over the peninsula, notwithstanding a popular referendum which saw the overwhelming majority of the territory's residents vote to break off from Ukraine and rejoin Russia in early 2014 in the aftermath of the Maidan coup.

The MoD said the Russians were carrying out a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided prior warning of their activity.

HMS Defender left Russian waters soon afterwards, having ventured as much as 2 miles inside, the ministry said.

Asked if the crew of HMS Defender had seen or heard anything, he said "initial reports say they did hear or observe training noises somewhere to the rear of her but beyond visual range". It said a Russian Su-24 bomber also dropped four bombs ahead of the British ship's path to persuade it to change course.

HMS Defender, a Type 45 destroyer, is part of the UK Carrier Strike Group now heading to the Indo-Pacific region.

The Royal Navy said earlier in June that the HMS Defender had "peeled away" from its strike group conducting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation operations in the Mediterranean to carry out "her own set of missions" in the Black Sea.

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"Russia is in a very, very hard spot right now", he said. It said that the ship then left Russian waters.

If Defender sailed after the signing with the British personnel present for the ceremony on board, then the incident with Russian Federation took place with both the First Sea Lord and the government's minister for defence procurement as first-hand witnesses.

Earlier in the day, Moscow urged the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to stop military operations in the Black Sea region, calling instead for "multilateral efforts" aimed at maintaining stability, and for states in the region to resolve problems without unwanted "help" from outside powers.

The Royal Navy warship, one of the nation's newest and most technologically advanced, had sailed from the United Kingdom last month with the new carrier taskforce, but detached a fortnight ago to head to the Black Sea. The Russian military closely monitors any and all movement by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warships in the Black Sea, and has the technical means to watch all alliance activity in the body of water.

The UK has said its the presence of HMS Defender is part of an operation that demonstrates the country's commitment to maintaining a regular Royal Navy presence in the Western Balkans. Moscow withdrew some of its forces after maneuvers, but Ukrainian officials say the bulk of them have remained.

Last week, Russia's president Vladimir Putin hit out at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, describing it as a "relic of the Cold War".

"We aren't striving for a decisive, unilateral military advantage to tip the balance of forces in our favor", Putin said.

Russia's relations with the West have sunk to the lowest levels since the Cold War, following Moscow's annexation of Crimea, accusations of Russian interference with elections, hacking attacks and other tensions.

After the incident, Russia's defence ministry summoned Britain's military attaché, Interfax reported.

He warned that "the world is rapidly sinking in a new confrontation, which is much more risky than during the Cold War times".

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